Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Adopting Cat with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

Adopting a cat that has a health concern is never easy however if you love cats and are a nurturing type of person then you will save a cat with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) life.  

There are so many homeless and stray cats that test positive for the antibody for feline immunodeficiency virus however because these cats are strays there is no way of knowing if the cats were vaccinated and thus the blood test could be a false positive. 
FIV cat plays with dogs on the bed

Feline immunodeficiency is commonly referred to as FIV, AIDS or Cat AIDS. This viral infection attacks the infected cat’s immune system and makes it difficult for the cat to fight off infection. FIV has infected cats worldwide as it is transmitted by saliva or deep bite wounds.  The virus enters the other cat’s blood stream and the cat is infected for the rest of their life.
Many animal shelters are euthanizing cats that test positive for FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency virus).  However, studies show that there is no need to euthanize these cats.  
Normal as Sam can be, he has FIV

FIV cats that carry the antibody can live long and relatively healthy lives in households where they are the only cat. Or they can live with cats that are not infected provided they get along and do not fight.  I have three FIV kittens that were raised with two healthy cats.  The two healthy cats have never been infected with the feline immunodeficiency virus.  
My cat Sam had FIV since 2008 / he is a rescue

The cat relationship is normal.  The adult cats took care of the kittens with grooming and they ate out of the same bowl.  They did not fight or bite each other.  The kittens are now age two.  I also have Sam my rescued Siamese cat.  He does not get along with other cats so he resides in my office and is with me and my dog 7 to 8 hours a day.  We tried to socialize him with other cats but he is a fighter.  

FIV cat Sam sleeping in Water container

Getting Home Read for your Adopted FIV Cat

The cat owner would have to provide a sanitary lifestyle by keeping the home spotless and litter boxes clean.  You would not want to weaken your cats immune system by exposing them to unnecessary germs.   

The indoor temperature would need to be an average temperature of 72 degrees.  You do not want your cat to be cold or hot. You would also need to feed an FIV cat a quality high protein diet with low carbohydrates.  Canned cat food that is supplemented with antioxidants. Supply the cat with filtered water and provide a stress free environment and your FIV cat should live a long life.  

A cat that is infected with FIV cannot go outside unless it is to an enclosed shelter that is safe from interaction with other cats. 
FIV cat plays with toys

No Kill Animal Shelters

I have noticed many cats that test positive for feline immunodeficiency virus at the private no kill shelters and these cats appear well groomed, in good healthy and happy.  While the virus does not have outward symptoms one will be able to note if the cat is lethargic, or has a weakness.  

The no kill shelters will offer cats that have the FIV antibody for adoption because the cat is healthy enough to live in a household with no other cats, and will live a relatively long life.  All these cats need in their life is a forever home where they will be loved.  I believe that adopters are passing by these cats because they are afraid of the virus and feel that the cat will infect humans or the cat will be sickly.  

A cat that is infected with the FIV antibody has the same mannerisms as normal cats: they play with their toys, they love, and they cuddle with their people.   

FIV cat Sleeps more:

The only difference that I can see is that Sam and the two kittens sleep more than the other cats.  Sleeping more is not an issue for me, and it should not be an issue with adopters. 

Long Term Care for FIV Cats

Your FIV cat will need to go to the veterinarian for a wellness check up as soon as you adopt them.  

The veterinarian will exam your cat and he may test their blood. Thereafter your cat will have yearly preventative check-ups.  If you cat shows signs of cold; sneezing , runny nose, tear staining then you must contact your veterinarian for medical care.
I recommend that you do not turn your back on a cat that has the FIV antibody. If you have a household that does not have any other cats then this situation is ideal for an FIV cat.  It would be stressful to try to socialize an FIV cat with other cats simply because they may fight.

  • A cat that is vaccinated for the prevention of  Feline Immunodeficiency Virus will show a false positive for the rest of their life. Many veterinarians do not vaccinate cats for this reason.
  • There is no cure for feline immunodeficiency virus.
  • Spay or neuter your cat and treat them with flea preventative as the biting fleas will cause infection. 
  • Keep all veterinarian appointments.
  • All members of household must get annual flu vaccine.
  • To date I have adopted 5 cats that have tested positive for FIV.  To look at them they appear as normal healthy cats.
What is Feline Immunodeficiency Virus?  Learn more by viewing this video: